From sharing their super cool tricks and tips for keeping fresh produce fresher longer, to making buttermilk last as long as it takes to use it up; a super cool way to fold clothes faster and more efficiently and keeping toys under control, my readers are the best!
Finding your tips, tricks and clever ways to save time and money makes opening my mail a treat! (Keep ’em coming, hear?)
Alive, Growing and Cheaper, Too!
I went to the supermarket to pick up what I needed for a cocktail to bring to a BYOB pool party. One ingredient on my list was fresh mint. In the produce department I noticed live plants in small starter pots for $2.50, including mint, basil, etc. The plant was cheaper than the mint that was packaged, ready-to-use.
I purchased the plant, which stayed perky and fresh for my cocktails at the party, and then brought it home to plant in a pot on my patio. I had fresh mint all summer long! I have done this before with basil, too, when I needed it for a recipe. Monica
Stainless Steel, Silver and Fresh Produce
I have found that keeping fresh produce long enough to be consumed can be quite a challenge. A large slice (cut from the larger piece so at least on surface is fresh-cut, but not peeled) fresh ginger in a bag of potatoes, oranges or apples retards spoilage. Stainless steel bowls have kept my veggies fresh for weeks.
I keep Romaine fresh for up to six weeks in stainless steel. I keep melons in the rind, because the rind is a life providing, life extending protection to the inside. We are organic food eaters, so the produce we buy does not come coated with preservatives, making it twice as difficult to keep produce fresh for an extended period.
Stainless steel naturally inhibits bacterial growth, as does silver. The early settlers put silver dollars in the bottom of their water barrels to kill life threatening bacteria. It works the same in the bottom of a food storage bowl. These tips work! Deb
Dabs of Buttermilk
From time to time, I’ll use a recipe that call for small amounts of buttermilk. I now buy a quart at a time and freeze it into ice cubes and keep them frozen until I need some. In my ice cube trays, eight ice cubes equal one cup, although yours might differ. Naomi
Quick Toy Cleanup
My son has LOTs of Legos. I love the creativity this kind of play encourages in him, but not the headache of picking all those toys up! Here is such a simple solution that everyone should know about it.
I store a large tablecloth in the bin on top of the Legos. Lay down the tablecloth and dump the bin. My son understands he can spread out as far as the tablecloth. (Make it a sheet if you need more space.) When it’s time to pick up, grab the four corners of the cloth, dump the Legos in the bin, and there you go—all picked up! Thanks for all the great tips you and your readers share with us! Heidi
Use, Launder, Reuse, Repeat
This column is one of your best, Mary! Abundance can make us careless, but your example with the paper towels is excellent. I’d like to share what I have experienced on that subject.
My husband uses disposible blue shop towels when he’s working on our vehicles, including a greasy and oily farm tractor. While they are made of paper, these towels are extremely tough. I have begun to use them for housecleaning projects as well. When they are dirty, I throw them in the laundry. They come out clean and ready to use again, and actually become softer after laundering.
I don’t recommend washing shop towles if they are soaked with oil or engine grit, but they will outlast a paper towel many times over. Thank you for all the great advice you share with us! Jinni
Just One Tablet Does the Trick
I just wanted to add one more to your quick fixes for cut flowers. I dissolve use an aspirin tablet in the water as a substitute for plant food.
My husband buys me a single rose for different occasions and an aspirin in the water lasts for about 3 days. I change the water and add another aspirin. My flower stays like new for about two and a half weeks.
I can persuade cut flowers from the supermarket to last close to a month using this method! Jeannie
Flat Stack to Save Time
I fold laundry in a rather unconventional way. I call it flat stacking.
Socks. I no longer fold and catch them in a ball but lay all of the similar socks flat in a stack.
Washcloths. I used to fold them in half and then in half again. Now I layer them in a flat stack.
Underwear. I used to fold them halfway up then 1/3 over and another 1/3 over and put them in a pile that many times fell over. Now I just lay them flat one on top of the other.
These stacked, unfolded items may not look as neat on the shelves or in the drawers, but the time it saves getting laundry folded and put away is amazing. Nellie